Choosing the right option at a fork in the road is something that happens to most of us at some point in our lives. Sometimes the consequences of the choice are minor – a choice between two shops, two car dealers, two holiday destinations.
Others are major, making the right choice having huge consequences for the rest or our lives. I made one of those when I chose to move to Canada instead of England after the chaos in Zimbabwe.
Was it the right choice? I can’t answer that yet. There have been good and bad consequences from choosing Canada. Among the good are the absence of threats to our lives, no constant intimidation, ready availability of fuel, a relatively low-cost of living and meeting many kind and helpful people. The not so good include, lack of personal independence, stifling political correctness and the worrying signs of an emerging police state.
Recently I have reached another fork in the road of my life’s journey. This time choosing the right road will have major consequences not just for my life and Sue’s life. But that of my younger son Bryan and his family. Possibly my older son Shaun and his family. It could affect Sue’s children and grandchildren in the United Kingdom too.
Bryan had held out in Zimbabwe for 13 years longer than I did. He was managing one of the last 200 or so commercial farms still operating. Since the start of the farm invasions, the farm had been whittled down to a fraction of its original many thousand acres. Despite continual harassment from the government and squatters occupying neighbouring farms, he managed to continue producing crops for export. In the process generating considerable foreign exchange for a bankrupt economy and employing between 300 and 400 people.
In the last few months the Zimbabwe government took more of the farm to give to politicians. The farm is no longer viable. The multi million dollar investments in a large pack shed, cold storage facilities, irrigation equipment, trucks, tractors and houses is now worthless unless the owner submits to extortion and agrees to pay the illegal occupiers “rent” for using his own land.
Canada sets a high barrier for immigrants to get over – unless one’s acceptance as a refugee from a country or conflict can be leveraged for maximum political capital – Syria for example. White Zimbabwe farmers (and more recently South African) have been among the most persecuted people in the world. However, the relatively low numbers and the historical perception that white people in Africa were “colonisers” makes helping them very low on most Western countries’ list of priorities.
That’s a bitter pill to swallow considering the sacrifices men from both those countries made fighting for the allies in both World Wars.
Despite being a highly experienced farmer with 20 years experience, and having already made a substantial investment in property here, it has not been easy for Bryan to be accepted.
We have been working with an immigration lawyer for almost a year. We have had to form a corporation and start a new business which will employ him. It appears that we are now in the final stretch and he will get a two-year work permit during which time he should qualify for permanent residence and eventually citizenship.
Because of our farming backgrounds it was logical that we start an agricultural business. We have started growing vegetables under environmentally friendly conditions.
Delays with the immigration process, new regulations requiring building permits for greenhouses and heavy rain prevented us erecting our own greenhouse in time to grow our own seedlings. We have had to buy seedlings from commercial nurseries. Our first batch of pepper, tomato, leek and onion plants arrived last week. Planting started today.
Bryan, his wife Karen and two daughters arrived in Canada on 31 March. They have found a house not far from where Sue and I live. They have bought a car and are rapidly adjusting to life in the first world.
I had originally planned to help Bryan and Karen part-time and continue with my writing, speaking, consulting and coaching work. Now I am at that critical fork in the road. In a recent post, I wrote that I would publish two posts a week on this blog. It is now obvious that is not going to be possible. In choosing to take the fork in the road away from what I have been doing, I am choosing family over familiarity. Challenge over comfort. It’s exciting.
For this summer, I have to devote most of my time to the new project. I will still be available for speaking engagements, will still promote my book, but posts here will be infrequent. In an effort to cut costs I will be cancelling my Aweber autoresponder account. It will be transferred to a different system included in my hosting service. Future email posts may look a little different. Readers subscribing via WordPress will not notice any change.
I will be starting a new website for the new operation. It will be grownwright.com and will feature articles about the project, growing vegetables and more from Bryan, Karen and me. Following the quest for a simple life and cutting costs, I will be offering some of my un and under utilised domains for sale
This blog has been going for seven years, thank you for visiting, subscribing, commenting. I appreciate you and will be back to a regular schedule in the fall.